Fencing is an expensive sport, especially at the beginning when you have to buy the equipment. And when you have two beginners needing equipment, the outlay can be quite painful. For Christmas, the boys received all they needed to “dry” fence, that means to fence without all the fancy electrical equipment. They got a jacket, mask, sword, and a bag to carry it (they already had gloves). We spent more on them for Christmas buying that than we normally would spend on them in all. They didn’t get much else.
Now we’re moving them to an electric class which requires an electric sword, a body cord, and a lamé – a vest with metal filaments.
Ouch. I think I spent the same amount that I did on their Christmas package. And I guess one of them complained that the poking of the sword into the chest was uncomfortable, so the coach told them to get a chest protector. This plastic shield straps to the chest and costs so much that I wondered if it was bullet proof too. Personally, I think a painful poke in the chest will help make you a better fencer. It’s the Dodgeball method of improving your skills: If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball. If you don’t like getting poked, improve your parrying.
But besides the physical pain of buying the equipment, I didn’t expect the emotional pricks. My husband prefers épée, but when I met him, he was fencing foil because that’s what the team needed. My boys are fencing foil because that’s “classic” fencing where you really learn all the basic moves. Considering how much money I just spent, they will be fencing foil for quite some time. Their coach sized them up for blade length and decided that Fritz was ready for a full-sized weapon. We already own adult-sized foils. All I really needed was a right-handed grip. Grips are $5. Swords are over $100.
But I don’t know about the condition of my husband’s old equipment; I don’t know how to test or clean them; and I don’t know how to put them together. I sighed and not for the first time wished my husband were the one doing this or was at least just a phone call away.
I turned from blade selection to see Billy trying on a lamé. Suddenly, I was transported back nearly twenty years and there was a very young version of my husband suiting up for a bout. I don’t know if it was the way he zipped it or his demeanor or his physical appearance. But whatever it was, the memories of those early dating years rushed in for a brief moment.
Boy, do I miss this man.